Last updated: 05/29/2007 12:50:09
I HAD an unplanned visit to Zimmbabwe recently.
The circumstances in which I had to leave
It was the first time that I had an opportunity to really return to Zimbabwe and have a better feel of what it is now like not to be part of the ever growing Diaspora community. But after having spent fourteen consecutive nights in
To say that the country has gone to the dogs is most certainly a huge understatement. Someone actually suggested to me the other day that it is actually more appropriate to say that the country has now gone to the zhing-zhongs, reference to the growing Chinese community seelling cheap wares all around
This is a country that shuns excellence, and embraces any form of underachievement. This is one country where mediocrity is celebrated day in and day out.
It was so sad to note that while the news bulletin afforded Chinoz, as he is called here, ample time to waffle about Workers' Day celebrations, the ZCTU was not given even a second to air their own planned programme for the same day. Under normal circumstances, Chinoz should not be even allowed near the television cameras at all. He is a glorified former municipal security officer whose only claim to fame is that he led some of those violent farm invasions a few years ago, the same farm invasions that have brought untold hunger and food shortages to many workers and their families in
I also had an opportunity to spend an afternoon at the
In particular, the once proud and revolutionary students' union building is now no more. Not to mention the symbolic October 4 bar! The students' union no longer has an administrative building it can call its own any more. The truth is that without a strong culture of student activism, the UZ is now just a glorified high school. They might just as well introduce a prefectorial system to officially represent the broader students' body interest. How have the mighty fallen!
Yet the saddest thing about it all is that no-one in the high offices seems to take care of the rapid decline of standards in most of the country's public systems. The national leadership seems to be so engrossed in the desperate struggle for political survival; so much that they are now more than prepared to sacrifice the greater national interest on the alter of political self-aggrandizement. In the meantime, the nation continues to suffer rapid degradation and stagnation.
I also had an opportunity to visit the Westgate Shopping Mall on a Saturday. What I saw there really broke my heart. The place that used to be a thriving social hive now lies forlorn and deserted. The shops are still there but the customers are no more. Many have left the country. While those who remain simply cannot afford to pay for most of the things that are on offer.
As for the topical issues in the political discourse of the country, things have become even more depressing. One cannot help develop the feeling that there is a now lot of political sterility and stagnation in the country. The politics of personalities and survival has become the order of the day. It is so hard to be both a visionary and a politician in
Admittedly, there are still some genuine leaders from various facets of the pro-democracy movement that is still burning the flames of the struggle at home.
But one thing I felt as I walked on the UZ campus grounds and also the other day when I was outside the national Parliament building, is that somehow, Zimbabweans now living in the Diaspora have a greater responsibility to the country than ever before. The truth is that the country now needs you, more than ever before.
Wherever you are, please do not give up on the dream for a better and new
Do not keep quiet anymore. Let your silence come to an end now. Join the growing movement fighting in various ways to keep
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